Sunday, January 12, 2014

Yet Another Word of the Year

I may have mentioned a time or two hundred that I teach a Bible study class every week. I love my class. We're called the Lydia Class, and we've been meeting together for over a decade.  We have a class verse and a class prayer and a class song. We even have a class color.  It's  purple. Maybe I'll yak about that some day.

Just not today

 What we've never had was a class motto or a even a Word of the Year. This year, I decided to remedy that and dub up one. The spiritual chocolate today is all about it. 

I'll start this post the same way I started our lesson,
 by making you guess what that word is.  

So... open your Bibles to the following verses, and see if you can spot the word of the year. 

From Jesus  himself  (John 13:34)
A new command I give you: Love one another. 
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

and again from Jesus (13:35)
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, 
if you love one another.”

There He goes again...(John 15:12)
This is My commandment,
 that you love one another as I have loved you.

and again (15:17)
These things I command you, that you love one another.

and from the Apostle Paul (Romans 13:8)
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

And John the Beloved  (1 John 3:)
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

Even my favorite Apostle weighs in on the subject.
(1 Peter 1:22)
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart

There were other verses as well, but I think you get the drift. Every single one of them contains the same Greek word.  I'll ask you the same question that I asked them.
 What do you think is going to be our word of the year?

I'll betcha some of you are thinking that it's love. You might even be like some of my Smartie Arties and be thinking of the specific Greek word, agape.

They got a gold star and bragging rights for knowing that, but they were still wrong. While agape is indeed in every verse, love in any language is not our word of the year. Our word is another Greek word.  It is found in every verse as well, but maybe you were so focused on the love that you overlooked it.  They did.

Or maybe, you were a bit duped by that *one word* business. I wasn't really lying to you. Our word really  is a single Greek word. It's allelon (pronounced  al-lay-lone  ).  It just doesn't have a single English word equivalent.

That's probably a good thing since it's impossible to practice  allelon in the singular. (It's actually impossible to *practice* it at all since it's a pronoun and not a verb, but...)  Allelon is the Greek plural pronoun which means one another.

One another. 

You see, inserting the word allelon in those verses changes the love a bit. This love isn't the unrequited kind like loving our enemies or even our neighbors. This is a love of  allelon,  one another.  It's not designed to be one-sided. In fact, by very definition it can't be one-sided.  Allelon is a  reciprocal pronoun. What one does... the other does right back.

It's part of God's perfect design for the body of Believers.  Pretty wonderful, if you ask me,  yet based on casual observation, it raises a question:   

Is it possible to have our noses pressed deeply into the Word yet still manage to overlook one another?  Is it possible to be so focused on the good stuff... the very important stuff like love... and still manage to overlook one another?

I think so. (Maybe you just did.)
What's more, my class agreed with me. 

That's why we're dubbing this year Allelon: The Year of One Another.  We began last week just the way we ought to, with our noses pressed deeply into the Word without overlooking one another.

All told, Allelon is used in 94 different verses in the New Testament. Within those verses are over 30 different commands as to how believers should (and should not) treat one another.  Because I never do anything half way, we'll be studying every single one of them.

And we started at the beginning... For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11) 

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Happy a happy Sunday, one to another. 


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